Out and Proud
I am sometimes asked why I label my youngest son as “Gayteen”, as if the most important factor is his homosexuality. It isn’t, of course, but there are reasons as to why I emphasise that aspect of him.
A straight couple can wander down the street hand in hand without raising a single eyebrow. No-one wants to watch a full blown game of tonsil hockey between a couple of any orientation, but a quick kiss on the lips between a straight couple doesn’t lead to nudges and whispers from people around them. Should a gay couple engage in such behaviour, especially in smaller towns and villages, people seeing them are shocked and quite frequently disgusted.
A casual glance at the TV will show heterosexual couples engaged in everyday living. Whilst it is true that many drama programmes include a token gay character, in the commercial breaks, everyone is straight.
Why shouldn’t a toothpaste ad show a young man freshening his breath for his boyfriend? Or a washing powder ad feature a gay couple, whose desire for clean laundry is exactly the same as their straight neighbours?
The answer, of course, is that companies are frightened of a backlash if they were to do this. They fear losing money as the bigots out there complain that this kind of advertising is inappropriate.
Inappropriate??? My son is NOT inappropriate. But even those who claim not to be homophobic would really prefer not to have to deal with the visual proof of homosexuality. They will say that what people get up to in the bedroom is their own business – but they would prefer not to see any displays of affection in public. So why is there no outcry when straight couples engage in a public show of their sexuality?
How many complaints are there when an advert shows a straight couple getting up close and personal? Or a straight couple is shown in bed together before the watershed, lying side by side and having a chat?
I want my son to live in a world where there is no perceived difference between couples of any sexuality. And part of building that world is for LGBT to be out and proud. The more people see gay couples engaging in perfectly normal behaviour, the more they will get used to the idea that they are here to stay.
Some may say that it is not down to me to out my son. There is no danger of that – he reads this column and supports it. He is completely open about his sexuality. Last weekend he, his dad and I went to a John Barrowman concert, sitting in the second row. John asked if there were any gays in the audience. Gayteen promptly waved his arms in the air, whooped and hollered. John loved it – especially as Gayteen was also wearing his La Cages Aux Folles T-shirt with “I Am What I Am” written on it in big sparkly pink letters!
Out and very proud – that’s my son, and the world had just better get used to it.